delaying actions, we risk winter’s onset
Rev. Dale Turner Nov 13, 1999
Bible is our eternal contemporary. It is always up to date.
There are human interest stories in its pages that have
their counterparts in each succeeding generation stories
that capture the imagination.
such story relates to the Apostle Paul. While he was in prison in
Rome, awaiting execution, he wrote a letter to his spiritual son,
Timothy a leader in the church in far off Ephesus.
wanted Timothy to pick up his books that he had left in Troas and
bring them to him. But most of all, he was eager to have Timothy with
him. Physical presence is precious. "Do your best," Paul
wrote, "to come quickly. Come before winter."
do not know how Timothy responded to Paul's letter. It would be good
to believe that he did not wait a single day to leave Ephesus, but
started at once for Troas and then continued the long journey to Rome
to encourage Paul in his last days: to read to him, write letters for
him and finally, to walk with him to the place of his execution.
have no record that Timothy arrived in Rome before winter. We hope
that he did.
suppose that when he received the letter from Paul, he had said to
himself, "Yes, I shall have to start soon for Rome. But first I
must clear up some matters in Ephesus and go down to Miletus to
ordain those elders, and over to Colossae to celebrate communion."
after he had finished what he thought he must do, he had started on
in Troas, he would have inquired for a ship to carry him to Macedonia
and on to Italy, or perhaps one that might be sailing around Greece
into the Mediterranean.
suppose he had delayed too long and was told that the season for
navigation was over and no vessels would sail until spring.
can imagine Timothy's reproach of himself all through that
anxious winter. When the first vessel sailed in the spring, Timothy
would have been on it. We can see him landing in Neapolis, perhaps,
and traveling up the Appian Way to Rome, arriving at Paul's prison
only to be cursed and repulsed by the guard there. He would then
can hear one of them ask, "Are you Timothy? Don't you know that
Paul was beheaded in December? Hadn't you heard? Every time the
jailer put the key in the door of his cell, Paul thought you were
last message was for you. "Give my love to Timothy, my beloved
son in the Lord," he said. "Tell him I love him and
encourage him to keep the faith."
is not ancient history. It is a reminder that
life has its priorities its decisive moments.
are doors of opportunity open today that will be closed tomorrow,
perhaps never to be open again. There are flexibilities that quickly
harden into firm realities.
human personality undergoes strange fluxes. Sometimes we are
sensitive, malleable and teachable. At other times, we are hard,
resistant and deaf to the voice of reason.
are crisis points in our lives, just as there are critical
temperatures in the molding of metal when it is neither too
hard nor too fluid to be shaped at will.
can be amended and improved, but not just any time. There are
favorable times when God calls to commitment. Capture the moment.
Jesus did not say
tomorrow, but today.
are those who postpone religious training for their children as
though religion were a window that could be put in long after the
building is under way.
are regimented in the clothing they wear, the food they eat, the time
they study, practice music or go to bed. But often their curiosity
about things religious is left unattended.
soul, like the soil, has its lessons for planting and reaping. "Come
now come before winter."
winter or never! There are things that will never be done unless they
are done before winter. Winter will come and pass and the flowers of
spring will cover the breast of the Earth and the groves of missed
is the realization that winter will come that injects urgency into
all human relationships. Voices still speaking today will be silent
tomorrow. How often have we exclaimed , "What! He is dead?
I just saw him weeding his garden a few days ago as I drove by."
there was something we wanted to say to him. Or maybe we just wanted
to shake his hand or comment on the beauty of the flowers in his
garden. But the unexpected has mocked our good intentions.
the Apostle Paul calls us all. “Come now. Come before winter.”